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Math Games For Kids

Updated on April 26, 2015
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Encourage a love of math in your kids by doing fun and interesting activities that involve math. Here are ideas for games that you can play at home with your family, toys, and books.

Subtraction Pig

Each player gets a piece of paper and a pencil. You can have as many players as you want but the minimum amount of players in two. Two dice are also needed for the game. Players start by writing 100 at the top of their paper. The youngest player rolls first. The player rolls both dice. They add the two dice numbers together and write them on their sheet directly below the 100. They subtract that number from 100. The player continues to roll the dice and subtract the numbers until a number 1 is rolled on one of their dice. When a number 1 is rolled their turn is over and it becomes the next persons turn. When a player gets down to 0 on his piece of paper he is out of the game. The last player to remain in the game is the winner.

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Play with money

Place dimes and nickels on the table. Ask your child to tell you how many coins there are, the value of each coin, and then what the coin values add up to.

Guess The Number

Ask your child to think of a number between 1 and 100. Then, it is your job to ask questions to guess the number. Ask questions is different ways so you child has to think about the meaning of the number you are guessing and how it relates to other numbers. For instance, you can ask:

Is it more than 60?

Is it an even number?

Can it be divided by 3 and get a whole number?

Keep asking questions like that until you have narrowed down your choices and then guess the number.

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War

To play War you need a deck of cards and two players. Deal out the cards evenly between both players. The cards should be placed face down.

To play, each player places their top card in between the players face up. The player who has the highest card keeps both cards and places them to the side. Number cards are worth the value of their number. Face cards like King, Queen, and Jack are each worth 10. An Ace is worth 11.

Once you have used your entire stack take the cards that you have won, shuffle them, and start using those cards.

The game continues until one player is completely out of cards. The player with all of the cards wins.

Grocery Shopping

Ask kids to help you with your grocery shopping. They can add up the cost of the items in the cart as you are shopping or help select the item with the lowest cost.

Turnover

Each player gets 11 note cards with the numbers 1 - 11 written on them. Each note card has one of of the numbers. The numbers are laid out face up in order in front of each player. The youngest player goes first. The player rolls two dice. The player must decided if they want to add or subtract those numbers. The answer to their addition or subtraction problem is the number they will use. For instance, if they roll a 6 and a 5 and decided to subtract 5 from 6 then the answer is 1. The player will then turn over their number 1 note card so it is face down. The player to turn over all of their note cards first is the winner.

Help your child look for patterns and numbers all around them.

You and your child can look for math all around you. Ask your child to look for math, point the math out to you, and if possible, solve the math problem.

The could count the number of trees and types of trees in your yard. You can point out the shaped and patterns of flowers or ask them to find them and point them out to you.

Compare cars.

While in the car, compare cars that are driving by. Ask your child questions about the cars. Is that one bigger or smaller? Faster or slower?

Play with tangrams.

A tangram is an ancient Chinese puzzle. It has one rhomboid, one square, and five triangles. The game has shapes that you try to make with those pieces. The game is fun to play for both kids and adults. The game helps develop spatial reasoning and complex problem solving.

Grab Bag

Find a bag that you cannot see through. Place 100 objects in it. The objects can be anything small and they do not have to be all the same. You can put coins, little bouncy balls, crayons or anything else you can think of into the bag. You will be placing your hand into the bag to pick up multiple items at once so make sure that they items that you place in the bag won't hurt you when you pick them up without looking. No sharp edges.

Once you have placed 100 objects into the bag you can start the game. The youngest player goes first by placing their hand in the bag and pulling out as many objects as they can with one grasp. The player counts the items that they pulled out of the bag. The player then subtracts the amount of items that they pulled out of the bag from 100 to determine how many items are left in the bag.

The second player then takes his or her turn to pull items out of the bag. They then count the items and subtract to see how many items are left in the bag.

The player that pulls the most items out of the bag is the winner.

Play Black Jack

Black Jack or 21 as it sometimes called is traditionally a game played in casinos. However, I played it around the kitchen table with my parents and younger brother when I was a kid.

To play the dealer, who was usually my father, would each give us two cards each. He would place the cards face up in front of us. We could choose to hit and my father would give us another card. Or we could choose to stay and we would get no more cards. Whomever got closest to 21 without going over wins.

Number cards are worth the value of the number of the card. Face cards like the King, Queen, and Jack are worth 10 each. And the Ace can be valued at either 1 or 11.


How Many Numbers?

To play How Many Numbers you need a deck of cards. Many people can play this game. Take all of the face cards and ace's out of the deck. Distribute the number cards to the players. Each player gets four number cards, a piece of paper and a pencil. The players then look at their cards to figure out how many numbers that can make out of the cards they received. The players have 5 minutes to write down as many combinations as possible by adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing the numbers. Whomever comes up with the most different answers is the winner.

Play How to Train Your Robot.

How to Train your Robot is a programming game that you do in real life without a computer. The link below has directions.

Don't push a certain type of game because you like it or think it is the best learning opportunity. That could turn your child off to the learning opportunity. Offer options to see what interest them. Your child has school to do the work. With you at home it would be fun.

Books for kids with math in them.

Here are several books that are fun for kids that contain math learning opportunities:

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